The smart phone created a new conundrum for IT staffs. Laptops had already introduced mobile work locations – and the risks of losing devices and connecting to unsecured networks. But when an individual can transport sensitive files thousands of miles away from the office, flexibility and security appear more at odds than ever.
The statistics seem to stack the deck against the mobile workforce of the future: 17 percent of employees lose a company-issued device, 48 percent use public Wi-Fi to access confidential files. In the highly regulated federal sector, how can agencies provide the flexibility employees want without compromising their security imperatives?
Shadow IT Won’t Be Written Away
Mobile risks can’t be regulated to death. Instead, more restrictive policies may encourage employees to turn to unsanctioned applications and personal devices to maintain the convenience they enjoy in their personal lives. More than half of surveyed employees in the U.S. (55 percent) admitted to accessing their social media accounts from company devices, and the door swings both directions. Gartner predicts that Shadow IT, the practice of using personal devices for work purposes, will account for a third of attacks on enterprises by 2018.
BYOD and Innovation
The federal government is increasingly turning to bring-your-own-device policies. After all, if employees are willing to violate policy on company devices, then attempting to restrict their use of smartphones and tablets will likely produce unintended consequences.
Bright spots of leadership have already emerged. A Federal Law Enforcement Agency has deployed 40,000 Samsung Galaxy Smartphones for agents’ use, providing a user experience that many employees are already familiar with. The Air Force Materiel Command issued tablets to house detailed flight map data on an app that replaced more than 90 pounds of paper charts. These successes are only a pair of examples that will emerge as the federal government embraces a flexible approach to mobile devices.
The Changing Federal Workforce
By September of this year, 600,000 permanent federal employees, the Government Accountability Office estimates, or approximately 31 percent of the workforce, will be eligible to retire. Commonly referred to as the Silver Tsunami, the sharp upset caused by this demographic shift will demand a reorganization of existing staff pools and workplace policies. Demand will only increase for younger employees as the year progresses.
One way that federal sector agencies can compete with private sector career opportunities is through progressive mobile policies. Young employees prefer to work on the applications and devices they grew up using, allowing government an opportunity to market its careers. Containerization allows these employees to use their devices for both their work and personal lives, protecting department-related applications behind a firewall while allowing other apps to run freely outside its container. Since enterprise apps are housed on personal devices, the rates of Shadow IT will drop significantly, and agencies can harness the productivity of mobile devices without the fear of data breaches or the costs of providing company devices.
Click here to learn more about how containerization solutions can unlock the potential of smartphones to drive your agency’s